Article - February 2004
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oBIX Evolves at AHR Expo

Randy Amborn
Senior Marketing Specialist 
Trane Global Controls and Contracting

Short for Open Building Information Xchange, oBIX is an initiative to define XML and Web Services-based standards for exchanging building systems information with each other and enterprise systems.

Industry gatherings serve a crucial role in the development of new thought. In formal press conferences, news releases are shared with the press. In seminars, practitioners hone their capabilities to advance solutions they can bring their customers. And in the convention center meeting rooms, halls, and cafes, the players weigh the potential, politics, and possibilities of new ideas.

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That was the case with oBIXTM at the AHR Epxo recently concluded in Anaheim. Amidst the sunny Orange County setting of theme parks, hotels and freeways, oBIX was the subject of much buzz, discussion, and debate. Short for Open Building Information Xchange, oBIX is an initiative to define XML and Web Services-based standards for exchanging building systems information with each other and enterprise systems.

At a press conference that coincided with the AHR Expo kickoff, oBIX chair Paul Ehrlich, Business Development Leader, Trane, and others gave key industry editors background on the oBIX guideline and status on oBIX developments since its germination at BuilConn in April 2003.

Reporters and observers heard updates on the work of four task groups; Data and Services, Security, Network Management, and Marketing. In an effort that has become obligatory in the early stages of any business initiative, the oBIX Marketing task group has fashioned a vision statement to furnish clarity of purpose; building systems working together for the enterprise.

The oBIX initiative received support from several related organizations during the show. Barry Haaser, Executive Director, LonMark International, said, "Web-based services are imperative for the building systems industry. oBIX is the platform to move in that direction."

Ron Zimmer, Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) President and CEO, said "CABA is pleased to have initiated and served as an incubator of the oBIX movement to use XML in building systems. To further drive progress, CABA will continue to play an instrumental role towards oBIX becoming an international standard."

contemporary A critical next step in oBIX's evolution is determining a standards body under whose auspices the guidelines can set down the path to becoming formal standards. One option that was proposed was to transfer governance of oBIX to an IT standards body; the Organization for the Advancement of Informational Standards.

OBIX, its relationship to BACnetTM, and the role that BACnet standards structures would play was the subject of frank discussions. BACnet Manufacturers' Association (BMA) President Jim Lee said, "I hope as an industry we can reach a consensus on the outstanding technical, standards jurisdiction, and branding issues."

In another indication of interest on Web services for building systems, over 160 people attended an XML Symposium held Tuesday, January 27. This learning event featured thought leaders from the IT field and panel discussions.

"Another upcoming milestone for oBIX is BuilConn in April, the first anniversary of this emerging initiative," said Anto Budiarjo, Clasma CEO. "The speed at which oBIX has taken root as THE uniting force in open systems for buildings is incredible. There is high anticipation of tangible progress in April".

Keep your dial tuned to radio oBIX.

For more information read FAQ from Anaheim press kit.

Randy AmbornAbout the Author

Randy Amborn is a Senior Marketing Specialist for Trane Global Controls and Contracting. He has written extensively in industry publications and Trane communications on building systems. He participates on the oBIX marketing committee.



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